Spike in coronavirus cases has Troy emergency crews stretched thin

Jacquie Slater & WNYT Staff
Created: January 15, 2021 07:05 PM

The spike in coronavirus cases in Rensselaer County has firefighters stretched thin in Troy.

The Firefighters Union is speaking out about concerns for personal and public safety.

Higher call volume, longer wait times for patients they're transporting to get into the hospital, an outbreak of the virus among their crews add up to frustration and concern not only for themselves but the people they protect.

Union President Eric Wisher says when this happens, they do not have additional staff to operate two of their firetrucks. That means those vehicles are not available to answer any calls in the city.

At Albany Med, firefighters say it is taking up to 90 minutes, sometimes longer for staff there to find an open bed or space for the patient they're transporting. That's 90 minutes when those firetrucks and their crews remain unavailable for additional calls.

Further complicating the situation, Wisher says a recent outbreak within the department saw 12 members test positive for the virus and another 35 were in quarantine as a result.

He says they are urging the chief and the city to consider having additional crews on each shift.

Hear the fire chief's reaction about any possible solutions in the works by watching the video of Jacquie Slater's story.

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